Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog tour: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt | Review + Favorite Quotes + GiveawayHold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon A Crime Family #1
Published by Bloomsbury on May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

picadillyblueHold Me Like a Breath is a completely fresh new story for the YA genre.  Tiffany Scmidt has crafted a wonderfully captivating story that will hook readers from start to finish.  And who wouldn’t love a princess and the pea retelling?

I’ve always been fascinated with stories relating to the mob so I had a feeling this would be a book for me.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail and involvement the mob aspect actually had to do with the story.  While Penny is part of a crime family, they aren’t bad people.  The purpose of the Landlow Family was to help people who the government couldn’t.  They definitely did it for the money but they also wanted to help.  It made it easy for me to sympathize with everything their family went through.

Penny was both one of my favorite and least favorite characters in the book.  She was incredibly naive which bothered me.  She lived a very sheltered life so I understand why she was like that but it seemed as if any lessons she’d had on surviving left her as soon as she was on her own.  She was an amazingly strong person, having to deal with everything on her own, including her illness.  However, she very quickly comes to trust a stranger when she is on the run for her life.  There were a few moments where I wanted to smack some sense into her.  Also, the illness aspect adds a whole other layer to Penny’s story.  Being on the run is bad enough but there was also the constant danger of Penny’s illness incapacitating or even killing her.

The rest of the characters were quite a mix.  Penny’s family and Family were very protective of her and so she didn’t know everything about them.  Carter was an adorable older brother and while he was very mysterious, his love for Penny was always clear. It was the same with her parents.  They handled her with kid gloves because they both loved her so much.  Their family was very sweet.  Then there was Garrett.  I am still torn about him and you’ll understand why when you read the book.  The whole bodyguard aspect definitely drew me to him but his sweetness also did.  As for Char, he also greatly appealed to me.  The romance between him and Penny was so fun.

The mystery could have been a bit more developed but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I could see what was coming from the start but it still threw me for a loop.  I’m not sure where things will go with the sequel because things tied up pretty nicely at the end of this but I’m still eager for more.

Overall, Hold Me Like a Breath will greatly appeal to fans of contemporary thrillers and also Holly Black’s Curse Workers series.  I can’t recommend it enough.

What others are saying about Hold Me Like a Breath:

Novel Novice’s review: “Billed as the first in the Once Upon a Crime Family series, Hold Me Like a Breath still reads like a standalone novel — which is really the best of both worlds.”

Fantastic Book Reviews’ review: “Hold Me Like a Breath had plenty of grit to go around.”

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About the author:

Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr

 

Favorite Quotes

These two quotes kinda perfectly describe Penny and both of the boys she has relationships with. I also love the contrast of the two.

“There wouldn’t be a clean break. I could no more sever him completely than I could untangle my DNA and remove whatever combination of nucleotides spelled out my skin’s tendency toward purple”

“He beamed. Beamed. No one had ever smiled at me like that. Like just by walking out the door I’d made his life better. It punched holes in my caution, made me feel off-balance.”

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins | Review + GiveawayRules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins
Published by The Studio on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The first rule of seduction is: don’t fall in love.

Fresh out of college, Dani Young heads for the LA sun to chase her dream of becoming a screenwriter-director. So when her former BFF turned actress Elise offers Dani the opportunity to work on the hit teen show Vamp Camp, Dani can’t refuse, even if it comes at a price: Elise wants Dani to seduce her boyfriend, Vamp Camp superstar Tate Lawrence. Turns out Elise has some major trust issues, and needs Dani to test Tate’s faith. The only rule: don’t fall in love with him.

Sure, Dani doesn’t mind occasionally glimpsing Tate’s megawatt smile…or accidentally-on-purpose brushing up against his perfect torso…but she’s no fool. There’s no way she’d ever fall for a shallow celebrity and no way one would fall for her, a lanky movie nerd.

But amidst vampire-crazed fans, a conniving fellow intern, and a devilishly handsome showrunner, Dani feels like all the rules she used to know have disappeared, except for one: Love doesn’t play by the rules.

Part The Devil Wears Prada, part How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days, this story of friendship and romance is sure to appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, and Anna Todd.

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Rules of Seduction is an adorable new adult novel about the inner workings of Hollywood and what it takes to make it in the business.  With a fun cast of characters and an awkwardly cute romance, it’s a quick read for contemporary fans.

Dani is both the best thing about Rules of Seduction and the worst.  She’s an adorably awkward girl who is so easy to relate to but she is also extremely naive.  She’s on her own for the first time and she’s just moved to LA.  She wants to be some big time director of indie films but to get there she has to start at the bottom.  People tend to walk all over her and things I could see coming from a mile away came as a surprise to her.  I loved her personality though.  She was such a nerd and she was so clueless when it came to guys, especially Tate.  Speaking of, Tate was so much more than I expected.  He was not the typical Hollywood bad boy player.  He had a great heart and he was quite a nerd too, deep down.  He and Dani brought out the best in each other.

The secondary characters really helped tie things together too.  Dani’s roommate, Brit, was a totally unique person.  She had a mind of her own and she did what she wanted.  She was good to Dani through everything, even when she knew Dani was doing something totally dumb.  Elise, Tate’s girlfriend and Dani’s friend from back home, was not all that great but I feel like I just didn’t see enough of her to really come to like her.

The story was really fun.  I have never really been all that interested in famous people or the Hollywood industry but Jenna Mullins did a great job of making it fun and easy to understand.  The base of the story was definitely a romance but there was enough other stuff going on that it didn’t feel completely devoted to the romance.  The details surrounding Dani’s job and her dreams were really intricate and made for a very interesting look at Hollywood.

Overall, I was definitely impressed with Jenna Mullins’ debut novel.  I look forward to reading more from her and I wouldn’t complain if Tate and Dani made an appearance in future novels.

What others are saying about Rules of Seduction:

Book Flame’s review:  “Rules of Seduction was a cute and light-hearted read.”

Swoony Boys Podcast’s review: “The idea for this story was amazing, and we loved experiencing Dani’s snarky, fun attitude coming off the page.”

Sleeps on Tables’ review: “First thing’s first, when I say this is a fun read, I mean it wholeheartedly.”

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In fourth grade, Jenna put her classmates into a story about fire safety, and they laughed the entire time she read it aloud. Since then, she’s been writing with the sole purpose to entertain other people. Fire safety, however, fell to the wayside when she accidentally set her grandmother’s bathroom on fire when she was 12.

In 2010, she moved from Indiana to Los Angeles to intern at E!, and she is now a writer/editor/pop culture gatekeeper at E! Online. A Midwest girl who prefers Southern California weather, Jenna loves the Indianapolis Colts, saving Hyrule and training for her backup dream career: deciding what goes into the baskets on Food Network’s Chopped. She currently resides in LA with her nerdy, handsome boyfriend Kyle and their two fluffier-than-normal cats, Glenn and Zelda.

Twitter

 
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + GiveawayThe Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Published by Harper Teen on March 30, 2015
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

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The Cemetery Boys was my first Heather Brewer book but if it’s any indication of her talents as a storyteller, it definitely won’t be my last. The Cemetery Boys is an intriguing mix of horror and paranormal and it hooked me from the very start.

I honestly can’t tell you what I expected from The Cemetery Boys. It’s unlike anything I’ve read and the synopsis really didn’t give me a clue what was going to happen. I think that’s the perfect way to go into this one.  The prologue and first few chapters are intriguing enough to hook you and that’s all you really need to keep going.  As I read I actually found myself getting more invested because I didn’t know what was going to happen.  The story truly was unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Heather Brewer’s writing is simple but gorgeous.  I found The Cemetery Boys to be an extremely easy book to read because the writing was straightforward but in no way dull.  Heather Brewer’s descriptions were so well written that I had no trouble picturing everything in my head.  It helped set the atmosphere of the story and I adored that about the book.  I also adored that Heather Brewer managed to completely capture Stephen’s voice in her writing.  I’d heard that she was good with male MC’s but this was the first time I’d seen it for myself and I completely agree with everything I heard.

The town of Spencer was an awesome setting.  It felt like the town itself was a character.  There was so much mystery and history to the town.  Everyone who grew up there knew what was going on but Stephen was an outsider, finding out about everything for the first time.  The folklore and stories that he was told were beyond captivating and definitely pretty creepy.

Overall, The Cemetery Boys was my first foray into Heather Brewer’s books but definitely not my last.  The writing, the setting, the characters, and everything else about the book added up to make a fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Paranormal/horror fans need to check this one out.

What others are saying about The Cemetery Boys:

The Fandom.net’s review: “If you’re interested in “old time-y” horror films that are heavier on the world and the plot progression, but maybe not so much on character development and relationships, then The Cemetery Boys will be a treat for you.”

Candace’s Book Blog’s review: “For people who enjoy books that are a bit different, off the beaten track and a little dark.”

Giveaway!

 
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Friday, March 13, 2015

The Orphan Queen Blog Tour: Black Knife Character Reveal + Giveaway!

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Check out the full blog tour schedule below!

I’m so excited to be part of The Orphan Queen Black Knife character reveal. He’s a very intriguing character and I’m sure you guys will love him!

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The Orphan Queen
by Jodi Meadows
Published: March 10, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: The Orphan Queen Duet #1

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others,

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

 Black Knife Character Reveal!

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Black Knife is a hard character to figure out. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if he’d be a friend or foe to Wilhelmina. Actually, that’s still kind of up in the air after the end of The Orphan Queen. You’ll have to read it and let me know what you think.


 

11Meadows-0051-240x300About the Author

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

Find Jodi: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook


 

Character Reveal Blog Tour Schedule
Thank you Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books for organizing this tour!

3/2 – The Whimsical Mama
3/3 – Aphonic Book Reviews
3/4 – Adventures in Reading
3/5 – Step Into Fiction
3/6 – Read Write Love 28
3/9 – Just a Broke Bookworm
3/10 – Love is Not a Triangle
3/11 – Jenuine Cupcakes
3/12 – The YA Book Traveler
3/13 – Katie’s Book Blog

Giveaway

Win a finished hard copy of The Orphan Queen
Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, international readers!)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + GiveawayThe Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Published by Scholastic on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

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The Sin Eater’s Daughter was one of those books that I’d heard nothing but good things about.  Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high.  While I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d hoped, I was definitely impressed with Melinda Salisbury’s debut novel.

Twylla possessed the ability to kill people with a single touch, making her extremely valuable to the rulers of her kingdom.  She was used as a weapon by the king and queen but also betrothed to their son, Merek.  While she was an asset to the kingdom, she was not treated as such.  She was very much alone among the other royals.  Her guards were the closest thing to friends that she had.  Her life was very solitary and kind of depressing.

Twylla was a weak point for me.  She was quite naive.  She didn’t question her abilities, how she got them, why she got them, or how they worked.  She accepted what the king and queen told her, even when things didn’t always add up.  Enter Lief, Twylla’s new guard from another kingdom.  He treated her as a person rather than a tool.  He made her question everything she had known.  He changed her and I liked the side of her that he brought out.  Of course Merek was still in the picture but he took a backseat to Lief in the romance department.  Major love triangle in The Sin Eater’s Daughter but I truly don’t know how I feel about this one.  Lief and Merek both had secrets but they both were good fits for Twylla, in different ways.

The lore throughout the book was definitely the best part.  The history of the kingdom as well as the whole world was so thought out and extensive.  The practice of sin eating was extremely interesting.  There wasn’t a whole lot about sin eating at first but it does come into play later in the story.  There is also a fairytale that comes into play closer to the end of the story and it blew my mind when everything came together.

I feel like I’m not doing a good job playing up how good The Sin Eater’s Daughter was.  There is romance, betrayal, folklore, mystery, and so much more.  It’s an interesting start to a new fantasy series.  The cliffhanger ending kind of killed me and I’m definitely going to continue this series.

Overall, fantasy fans should check out The Sin Eater’s Daughter.  Melinda Salisbury shows real talent with her debut novel.

What others are saying about The Sin Eater’s Daughter:

Jess Hearts Books’ review: “The Sin Eater’s Daughter was a rich mystery driven Fantasy that’s sure to keep readers enthralled with its surprising twists and unique world.”

Woven Magic’s review: “I like my fantasys with take charge heroines, magic and battles and political plots, but for a fantasy romance this was good. (and there was plenty of conniving by bad guys.)”

Fiction Freak’s review: “Read this. Seriously. Honestly. Read The Sin Eater’s Daughter and you won’t regret it.”

 

Melinda

About Melinda:

Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

She tweets. A lot.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway!

5 winners will receive copies of The Sin Eater’s Daughter

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

2/16/2015- Fiktshun– Interview

2/17/2015- Katie’s Book Blog– Review

2/18/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Guest Post

2/19/2015- Beauty and the Bookshelf– Review

2/20/2015- Novel Novice– Interview

Week Two:

2/23/2015- Fiction Fare– Review

2/24/2015- Supernatural Snark– Guest Post

2/25/201- YA Bibliophile– Review

2/26/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview

2/27/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + GiveawayLove & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Published by Harper Teen on December 31, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Love and Other Theories is a fast-paced twist on the coming-of-age novel . . . and the romantic comedy.

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys' rules when it comes to dating. They're hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak--they don't realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

With equal parts bite and romance, topped off with an irresistibly engaging voice, Alexis Bass's debut novel is one you won't want to miss.

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Love & Other Theories is not your typical fluffy contemporary romance.  In fact, there is nothing typical about Love & Other Theories.  While it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, I did find myself hooked from the start and smiling when I finished it.

Aubrey and her best friends are the mean girls of the school.  They hook up with all the hottest guys, they shun girls that go against them, and they tend to get up to no good behind each others backs.  They are not girls that are easy to like and that was by far my biggest issue with Love & Other Theories.  Aubrey was a smart girl but she was really stupid when it came to her friends and boys.  As for her friends, they weren’t all the worst but Shelby was a bitch.  I didn’t understand why everyone was so under her spell.  She was so full of herself and what she did to Aubrey was so hurtful.  I was also not so impressed with Nathan.  At first I was completely in love with him, especially with Aubrey.  They were so cute together.  Then I met Trip.  Trip was a guy who got what he wanted and expected that to always be true.  However, he was also a really sweet guy who clearly cared a lot for Aubrey and would do anything for her.  By the end of the book, my heart was his and I couldn’t remember who Nathan was.  Oops.

There was a lot of terrible communication between Aubrey, her friends, and all the boys in their lives.  So much stuff could have been cleared up if they had just talked about things.  Aubrey was pretty afraid to speak out but she wasn’t the only one.  There were so many secrets surrounding all of her friendships and other relationships, including with her family.  When Aubrey finally started speaking her mind I wanted to jump for joy.  However, it took a lot of heartache for her to reach that point and I felt terrible for all of it, especially since it could have so easily been avoided.

The story itself was not all that action packed but it was entertaining.  I love books that are set right around college time.  There was a lot of focusing on getting into college, what life was going to be like in college, and learning to say goodbye to friends from high school.  While Aubrey and her friends had a weird relationship, they really did see each other as life long friends.  Leaving them behind was a hard thing for Aubrey to even contemplate.  Also, while the whole partying thing was a little overdone, it made things interesting.  Aubrey and her friends had this crazy high school experience that was similar to that of my high school.  Not necessarily me (I was a nerd) but I totally understood it because my friends partied it up like them.  The drugs and alcohol might get to some people but I found it pretty realistic.

Overall, Love & Other Theories definitely won’t be topping my favorites list but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  I found myself flipping pages as fast as I could and by the end of the book I was really attached to the characters.  That’s the mark of a good book, to me.

What others are saying about Love & Other Theories:

Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “You will go from absolutely loving it to worrying about where it’s going to take you next; to making you completely fall in love with it.”

Fic Fare’s review: “With that said, I do think the story told here was interesting and if you are looking for a book that isn’t a soft, fluffy romance, you might enjoy this one.”

The Quirky Reader’s review:  “I think fans of Katie Cotugno will immensely appreciate this gem, but if you’re  just into contemporary YA in general, then you are required to check this one out.”

Interview

Describe Love & Other Theories in 140 characters or less.

A system developed by four best friends designed to avoid heartbreak falls apart the last few months of the high school.

Do you have a favorite character from Love & Other Theories? If so, why? (I know this is like asking a mom to pick a favorite child but I had to do it!)

It is hard! Of course, I love them all—even when I don’t like them, I love them. I…um…I guess the main character, Aubrey, because I wrote a whole book around her last few months in high school. 🙂

I created a minor character just to make my cousin laugh when she read the book; so in that regard, Leila Court is another favorite.

Did you consciously decide to write for a YA audience?  If so, what made you decide to write YA?

I decided to write YA because I love that time in life, when nothing is permanent, there’s so much possibility, so much changes so quickly, and there are no notes to pull from because you’re experiencing everything for the first time.

Do you have any must haves while you are writing?

I actually don’t have must-haves for writing (though having coffee on hand is great!). I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, with anything (or nothing). I make a huge dent in my word count goals typing on my phone while waiting in line (usually for coffee, haha).

Do you have any big plans for your release day?

My release day is New Year’s Eve and I’ll be back in my hometown for the holidays, so I’ll be celebrating both the book’s release and the New Year with some of my oldest friends.

What is next for you?  More YA books?

Yup, more YA books! My next standalone contemporary YA novel, WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US (HarperTeen) will be out next year.

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys?

Good Boys

Happily ever after or happily never after? 

Happily never after

Series or standalone?

Standalone

Love triangles or soulmates? 

Neither

Write at night or write during the day? 

At night

Write in silence or write with music?

With music

Print, audio or eBooks?

All of the above

Giveaways

Win a book written by one of the awesome authors who blurbed Love & Other Theories.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + GiveawayLittle White Lies by Katie Dale
Published by Delacorte Press on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will be ensnared in this tale of deceit. Christian is hiding terrible secrets from his girlfriend, Lou. But Lou has told lies as well. What if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident?

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger?

But Christian isn’t the only one keeping secrets. For what if their accidental meeting was no accident at all?

picadillyblueLittle White Lies incorporated everything awesome about suspense novels and everything action packed about young adult novels and combined them to make one awesome story.  Suspense is hard for young adult but Katie Dale managed to craft a wonderful story that kept me guessing until the very end.

If you follow me on Twitter or Goodreads, you might have seen some status updates about the main character.  She annoyed me for a good portion of the book.  Her actions made no sense to me and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just give up.  She practically stalked this guy Christian and every time he turned her down for a date she would not take the hint.  It actually got to be a bit stalkerish (that’s totally a word.)  I was quite upset with how she was acting and I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  My feelings towards Lou changed about halfway through the book though.  Christian wasn’t the only one with secrets and once Lou’s started to come out, her behavior started to make a little more sense.  I can’t say too much without giving things away but just trust me that her behavior won’t annoy you so much once you get to a certain point.  In fact, you’ll probably start to like her a lot, just like I did.

The cast of characters in Little White Lies were a strong mix of personalities.  Lou was a little shy, quiet, smart, but with a great sense of humor.  She was a bit awkward which only made me love her more.  Her best friend, Vix, was her exact opposite.  She was outgoing, a little crazy, and pretty much the perfect balance for Lou.  Kenny was funny but there was just something about him that I didn’t love.  He always seemed a bit sketchy.  As for Christian, he was a hard person to get a read on.  He was very mysterious and sometimes a little rude.  I could understand why Lou was a bit attracted to him but I didn’t get her obsession.  He seemed like any other guy just with a few more secrets than most.

The mystery is truly what kept me reading.  It was hinted at early on in the story but I really had no clue how things would play out.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how everything was going to tie together.  Katie Dale did a great job with that aspect of the story.  Even if I could figure out one thing I’d be completely clueless about something else.

Overall, Little White Lies really is perfect for fans of suspense.  I look forward to reading more from Katie Dale.

What others are saying about Little White Lies:

Books and Whimsy’s review: “I also liked that Little White Lies manages to ask some important questions about family, friendship, and who we are on the surface.”

Book Passion For Life’s review: “I know many people will enjoy it – so go read it and see for yourselves – but for me, it was a little underwhelming.”

In Libris Veritas’ review: “It has a well written plot, great characters, and puts some attention on the flaws of the justice system.”

Giveaway

Two US residents will win copies of Little White Lies

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + GiveawayEarth & Sky by Megan Crewe
Series: Earth & Sky #1
Published by Skyscape on October 28, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 306
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

picadillyblueEarth & Sky is a member of a genre that I don’t often read: science fiction.  I’ve never really been interested in things to do with aliens, other worlds, and time travelling but Megan Crewe did a wonderful job with Earth & Sky.  I was intrigued from the start and couldn’t stop reading once I started.

One of the draws of Earth & Sky is that it’s not super scientific or futuristic.  It’s set in a world like ours full of people like us.  Skylar in particular is very normal, just with a special ability.  She suffers from terrible panic attacks.  For most of her life she’s tried to hide them from people and learned how to deal with them on her own.  However, Win tells her that they aren’t typical panic attacks.  They are triggered by something truly wrong in the world, something that only a few people can actually sense, Sky being one of them.  As for Win, he may be an alien but that’s not to say he’s not just like a regular guy.  He just happens to have some really big jobs on his plate, such as finding a weapon to destroy a satellite.  No big deal.

This is not the first book I’ve read by Megan Crewe and it will definitely not be my last.  Earth & Sky reaffirmed my love of her writing style.  It’s simple and easy to read making her books even more fast-paced than they already are.  Her writing style also helps keep the story a little more simple since there is a lot going on.  It would be easy to make Earth & Sky a very hard to follow story but that was not the case.

The romance in Earth & Sky was a bit lackluster.  It was hard to tell if there was something blooming between Win and Sky.  I don’t know about you guys but I’m a huge fan of romance and I actually like books less when there isn’t some steaminess.  At first I thought there might be some romance between Sky and one of her classmates but that didn’t seem to go anywhere and things could maybe go somewhere between Win and Sky in future books but there wasn’t much action this time around.  I definitely don’t think that’s a huge drawback but for me it did take away some enjoyment.

Overall, Earth & Sky is a unique science fiction story that can appeal to all readers, even ones like me who aren’t the biggest fans of sci fi.  I recommend giving this series a shot and I definitely look forward to seeing where things go in future installments.

What others are saying about Earth & Sky:

Feisty Little Woman’s review: “The time-travelling in Earth & Sky is creative and well-thought out.”

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “Earth & Sky was an entertaining read and offered something unique in the YA scifi genre.”

megan About the author:

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Where to find Megan online:

Website: http://www.megancrewe.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/megan.crewe
Twitter: http://twitter.com/megancrewe
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2839407.Megan_Crewe
Tumblr: http://megancrewe.tumblr.com/

 

 

Interview

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog as part of the blog tour!

Thank you! I’m glad to be here.  🙂

Describe Earth & Sky in 140 characters or less. 

Teen girl joins alien rebel on a journey through history and around the world to stop his people’s time manipulating experiments on Earth.

What made you decide to write YA?

To be honest, it wasn’t so much a decision as a realization. When I first started writing novels, I was in my teens, so I wrote about teenaged characters because that was what I knew. As I got older, I found most of my story ideas still involved teens and that I enjoyed writing about that period in people’s lives the most. It’s such an intense time, with so many firsts and issues people are often only just becoming aware of, and it’s also a period of so much change as you grapple with your identity and whether it fits who you want to be. There’s a lot to explore there as an author.

Do you have a favorite character from Earth & Sky?  If so, why?

My main characters are almost always my favorites, and I am very fond of Skylar. She’s had to deal with a lot and still manages to find the courage to take all the risks she does to protect the people she cares about, but she isn’t afraid to stand up for her own needs either.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?

As much quiet as I can get—I have trouble focusing with music or chatter around me. Wrist rests to prevent muscle strain, especially necessary because when I’m drafting I’ll be on the computer for long stretches at a time. And an outline so I know where I’m going.

Do you know how a story is going to end when you start it?  Is it easier to figure out the beginning or the ending of a book/series?

See above about outlining—I’m very much a planner, and always work out the major details before I start a story. With a series, I need to have at least a vague idea where the overall story is going to go across all of the books, though I generally don’t figure out the specifics until I’m finished each book before.

As to beginnings vs. endings… I find beginnings really hard in general. It’s tough balancing introducing your characters and their world with getting into the action quickly enough. Whereas I love bringing everything together for a grand finale. But on the other hand actually figuring out the details of the ending is usually more difficult just because there are many different elements that need to be coordinated and built-up properly, whereas at the beginning I’m just getting the ball rolling.

What is next from you?  More books in the Earth & Sky world?

There are two more books to follow Earth & Sky–The Clouded Sky and A Sky Unbroken—which will be out in spring and then fall 2015. I don’t have any further books lined up yet, but I do have a couple projects waiting for their turn to be considered and another I’m in the process of writing, and I hope to have news to share about one or more of those before too long!

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys? Good boys—I like to see heroines treated with respect.

Happily ever after or happily never after? Somewhere in between–realistically hopeful, let’s say

Series or standalone? Reading: standalone; writing: both

Love triangles or soulmates? Between the two I’d have to take love triangles, but I really prefer two-person love stories that are romantic without it having to be a destiny/forever soulmates type deal.

Write at night or write during the day? Day.

Write in silence or write with music? Silence

Print, audio or eBooks? Print for collecting; eBooks for convenience

(Sorry, I’m obviously not very good at answering shortly.  😉  )

Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive a Kindle Paperwhite with custom EARTH & SKY cover and preloaded with the ebook, and nine others will receive a signed paperback copy of the book. All winners will also receive an EARTH & SKY swag pack including star candies in Win’s favorite Earth flavors, signed bookmark, magnet, and sticker. (Open internationally)

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | Review

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | ReviewBeautiful Girl by Lida James
Published by The Studio on October 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

I’ve always wanted to be beautiful, but the irony is that you can’t force it—real beauty is when you don’t have to try, it’s just there. You wake up to it, like freshly fallen snow outside your window, and it’s yours to bask in. Real beauty is for people like my roommate, Kate, who float through life.

I don’t float—I run.

Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.

So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.

But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.

All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up...and only one boy can save her.

picadillyblueBeautiful Girl is the first book I’ve read from Paper Lantern Lit’s publishing imprint and it’s definitely set my expectations pretty high for their future books.  Lida James’ debut novel has pretty much everything readers could want: suspense, romance, mystery, and betrayal.  I was hooked from the moment I picked it up.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nicole when I first started the book. She’s not an easy girl to like and it was hard for me to figure out if she might be a little bit crazy.  She definitely seemed like she might be a bit of an unreliable narrator.  She was paranoid and a little obsessive when it came to certain people in her life.  She was also very confused about guys.  She was a little bit of a tease and that was probably my biggest issue with her.  She had 3 or 4 guys interested in her  and it seemed like she just played them all.  I had no clue which one of the guys she was truly interested in although I knew which one I thought she should be interested in.  Henry was the only guy that seemed to be really good for Nicole.  He was sweet and charming and a little shy.  He was good for her and didn’t bring out the bad side of her like Justin or Zach did.

As for the mystery, I saw part of it from the start but there were many things that managed to surprise me throughout the course of the book.  Things kept happening and I’d expect one person to be doing them only to find out later that it was someone else.  I think Nicole’s paranoia really added to the mystery.  There were times when I was sure she was right about whoever was attacking her and other times I was sure she was just losing her mind.  It kept things interesting, that’s for sure.

The friendships in the book really did very little for me.  Nicole’s roommates were supposed to be her friends but I saw Monica more as a frenemy than anything and Kate was barely there for most of the book.  I just didn’t understand any of the draws for the friendships and I thought they were actually quite mean to each other.  They definitely had more of a relationship that involved a lot of backstabbing and jealousy.

Overall, Beautiful Girl is a thoroughly interesting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  It definitely fits into the new adult category since it deals a lot with sex, drugs, alcohol, and other explicit content but it’s not done for the shock factor alone.  I’d highly recommend this one for fans of suspense.

What others are saying about Beautiful Girl:

Reading Lark’s review:  “I think in the end Lida James has created a story that will remind you of the beauty of hope and new beginnings.”

Fiktshun’s review: “BEAUTIFUL GIRL is a dark and intriguing story with gorgeous writing, an array of disturbing, maddening, sympathetic, likable and detestable characters facing a number of tough issues, and a chilling and suspenseful mystery.”

LidaJames

About the author:

Lida James grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated cum laude from Vassar College with a BFA in English (and a lot of film credits, too). After working as a cameraperson on feature films in NYC she relocated to Los Angeles in search of mountains and waves. Once there, she wrote and sold screenplays (and snowboarded and windsurfed). She continues to enjoy living in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children—all shredders like herself—and two rescue dogs. Beautiful Girl is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter to learn more and for updates! photo © Amy Malloy

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | Review

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | Review

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | ReviewMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by Houghton Mifflin on November 4, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

picadillyblueWhere do I even begin?  I didn’t care much for Annith in the first two books and I was nervous that I wouldn’t love Mortal Heart as much as Grave Mercy or Dark Triumph because of that.  I could not have been more wrong.

Annith is just as awesome as Ismae or Sybella, just in very different ways.  I think that’s one of the reasons these books are so awesome.  Each character brings something new to the table.  Annith is a little too obedient at first but it’s quickly clear that she has a mind of her own and she’s going to follow her own instincts.  She’s smart and feisty and I did not see that coming. She’s very guarded and she expects very little from people.  That’s why Balthazaar takes her by surprise.  He wants to protect her and she can’t figure out why.  All she knows is that she is drawn to him from the first moment they meet.  And let me tell you, I can’t blame the girl.  Balthazaar is my favorite of the three male love interests in this trilogy.  Beast and Duval are awesome but they can’t hold a candle to Balthazaar.  Once you read Mortal Heart, you’ll know what I mean.

The story is a lot faster paced than the first two books or maybe it was just that I loved the characters so much that I couldn’t stop reading.  There was still a lot of politics in the book but not quite as much as the first two books.  The politics are extremely interesting though.  I’ve never been a fan of them but this series is just so well done that I find every little thing about it fascinating.

Also, the cameos were beyond perfect and I loved seeing Beast, Sybella, Ismae, and Duval again.  I didn’t remember everything from the first two books when I first started Mortal Heart but things quickly came back to me as I read.  It also helped that the stories are all overlapping.  Some of the things that happened in the first two books haven’t actually happened yet and so it’s refreshing to be able to read about them again.

Overall, it’s hard for me to put into words my love for this series.  It’s not often I read a trilogy and love every book but that was the case with this one.  I can’t recommend this series enough and if you’ve already read the first two, rush out and get this one as soon as possible.

What others are saying about Mortal Heart:

Waking Brain Cells’ review: “A fitting end to a grand trilogy, I can’t wait to see what LaFevers has for us next!”

Good Books & Good Wine’s review: “Readers who like their trilogies to have breathtaking endings, kick ass heroines, self contained but connected stories, and expansive character development paired with intricate world building would do well to pick up Mortal Heart as well as it’s predecessors, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph.”

Read Breathe Relax’s review: “This final book did an amazing job of wrapping up all the stories, and I think Annith is my favorite leading lady yet.”

Robin-Pushing-Tree-281x300 About the author:

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.

Where you can find Robin:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

Giveaway!

(1) One winner will receive a rustic arrow necklace, a leather bound notebook and a hardcover of MORTAL HEART! US Only.

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